How do you travel on holiday? For a growing number of people, the answer has a saddle and two wheels. The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) has shown that some 655,000 people are today employed as part of the continent’s cycling industry, with CTC’s ‘New Vision for Cycling’ revealing that a two-wheeled tourist spends, on average, £25 a day within the local economy, comparing extremely favourably with a car visitor’s spend of just £7.30.
Indeed, Cycling tourism is building downhill momentum around the world. Macs Adventure, a cycling and walking tour operator, specialising in tailor-made adventures in the UK, Europe and around the world, has recently revealed a 124 per cent increase in cycling tour bookings for 2014 year-on-year.
Now, EuroVelo, a network of long-distance bicycle routes throughout Europe, has announced the development of a new route from Spanish Cadiz to Cypriot shores. “The Mediterranean Route” will span 5,900km and 11 countries, all the way from Spain through France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Greece to Cyprus.
Forming an important and popular part of EuroVelo’s proposed 70,000 km network, the route’s planned navigation of Albania’s Shkodra, Tirana and Durres cities is an exciting addition, as Peter Walshe, Marketing Director for Albania’s first high-end resort, Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa, explains:
“The newly proposed ‘Mediterranean Route’ will offer much to the experienced and novice cyclist alike and, once reaching Albanian trails, is sure to open visitors’ eyes to the countless natural wonders of this European gem.
“Sweeping, beautiful landscapes and climbs of extensive, breathtaking mountain ranges provide the chance to discover the true Albania: a stunning, untouched land of authentic and undiscovered culture, extremely affordable prices and friendly, welcoming locals. Sure to put beautiful Albania on the map, and contribute to the country’s growing tourist numbers.”
Not only is the new EuroVelo 8 route through the ‘Land of the Eagles’ sure to encourage a further tourism boost as Walshe anticipates, the new literal connection to its European neighbours also marks an important association for the Balkan nation with the rest of Europe. This has been further cemented by the recent announcement that Albania has been granted EU Accession status, as the country edges closer to its goal of becoming an official EU nation.